Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tis the Season, I Guess

This is one of my least favorite times of the year. The constant Buy, Buy, Buy, Sale, Sale, Sale, barrage drives me nuts. I have been known to turn off the TV in mid program because I just can't stand the constantly repeating commercials for this product or that service.
It's not even the end of November & it's Christmas everywhere. There was even some Christmas advertising just before Hallowe'en, fer gawd sake. I just can't stand it some days. I don't bake. I don't decorate. And I sure don't buy a tree. What a waste of a perfectly good tree that could live for years to purify the air, increase the oxygen levels, hold down the soil & provide food & shelter for wildlife. Why not put up a fake tree??? They come with the lights attached nowadays, buy a fake & save a tree.

I am not a total curmudgeon all the time. I do knit for charity, contribute to the Food Bank, Salvation Army & Harbor Light. I drop off clothes & household goods to the Fireman's Thrift Store. And I make loans to Kiva all year long. While Charity begins at home, I believe in giving a Hand Up instead of a Hand Out to those who work hard to build a better life without the social benefits that we, in North America, enjoy. KIVA is in the business of making Mico-Loans to people who have little or no access to financial services. Loans can be as little as $50 to buy a sewing machine so a woman can start a dress-making business.

My personal favorite targets are single women & farmers. I currently have loans to a University student in the Gaza Strip, a young weaver in Paraguay, a group of 5 women in India, 3 older women in Africa, South America & the Philippines who run small General Stores out of their homes, a chicken/guinea pig farmer in Bolivia & a man in Tajikstan who needs to pay for his wife's operation. None of these people have access to banking or financial help without Kiva & the people like me who make small loans available.

I often think about people like the woman in Tajikstan who cannot get medical help until her husband finds $900, like the Rwandan farmer who struggles to feed her family without access to clean water, the Palestinian girl who can't go to school because her mother doesn't make enough money to pay the fees or the village women in India who desperately want toilets. How lucky I am to be old in Canada where we often take for granted all of the 'luxuries' we have that most of the world is still struggling to get. Now that's something to celebrate.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Hats for Everyone
Usually, this time of year, I'm knitting Hats for charity. I used to knit socks as well but the cost of shipping socks to the Collection Spot has become waaaay too expensive for a Pensioner in Canada. I used to participate in a 'Secret Santa' gift exchange with a couple of my On-Line Groups too but the last package I sent out cost more to mail than it did to put together!!! And I don't know anyone who sends out Cards anymore except to family because it's just too expensive. I suspect a lot of us create a Blog or a Facebook page just to keep in touch with the folks we know & love because it's cheaper than the Postal Service in Canada.

I hung in there with Hats. Everyone needs a hat in this climate. But that's become complicated too. Local charities will only accept items made with acrylic yarns because clothing must be machine washable/dryable. One group said they would only accept DARK acrylic hats in black, brown, grey & navy because most of their 'clients' prefer black. I know, I know, street people don't want to be seen when they bed down for the night. But yarn donations don't always come in dark colors .  .  .  .  so I decided NOT to knit hats this year at all. My hands & fingers are sore enough that I CAN'T knit a couple of dozen adult hats that won't get used, so I'm making acrylic blankets for the Syrian Friendship House AND woolly pouches & cat beds instead.

Handspun wool
One of my friends volunteers at a Shelter & a Wildlife Rehab up the Valley. When my last cat died, I asked if the Shelter could use a bunch of things I had since I decided not to get another cat. It was my crocheted cat bed that really got her interest - Shelter cats really need blankets & soft plushy toys to snuggle with to thrive. When adopted, the cat takes the blanket or toy with them so the Shelter is  always looking for more items. Another thing they're always short of too, are knitted pouches for the babies in the spring. Wild babies need to be together in snug, flexible nesting materials. Knitted squares work really well for most of them, especially the squirrels & chipmunks because they can be made into hanging nests - one point being the hanger & the two side & bottom points brought together with a few stitches. The babies nest together warmly inside. Apparently babies raised this way survive better & grow faster. And squirrels don't care what color the yarn is!!!
Off to the Foxes

My cat bed was crocheted out of small amounts of White Buffalo & Cowichan yarn marketed for 'Indian ' sweaters. I washed it in my portable washer - no agitator - just soak & spin dry, but it's also easily made out of acrylic. I just single-crocheted an oval - you could make it round - & then did a few 'crochet 2 stitches together' at the top & bottom to make the sides turn up. Cats & dogs both love it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rain Rain - Enough Already

Another Sunday, another rain storm. What is it with this weather we're having on the Wet Coast?? I mean, this is extreme, even for us!! Luckily, we did have a small break in the weather yesterday  -  I even managed to get out into it for an hour or two!! But, I'm not sure that an hour or two of NO RAIN every couple of days really counts. A couple of hours of SUNSHINE between rain storms might do though .  .  .  .

And woke up this Monday morning to - gasp, head shake - SUNSHINE. Well, what's with that???? It was so pretty out there I just had to go for a coffee & sit in the sunshine with a book. While sitting there I thought about the Damn Squirrel at home who keeps burying nuts in my plant pots outside the front door. I wish I could shoot the neighbor that keeps giving the damn thing peanuts in the shell. Don't they know it just hauls them to my house & buries them in the nearest soft earth????

I have three crows that hang out at the end of my drive & talk to me when I go outside. They aren't afraid of anything or anybody. The neighbors on one side wash their work vehicles daily & the water runs down a narrow path on the side of the paved alley where the crows can bathe & drink all summer long. This morning, as a treat, I emptied half a jar of old chunky peanut butter into an aluminum pan for them & tucked it into the weeds at the side of the drive, close to the stream running past. You would have thought they'd died & gone to heaven. I know birds like peanut butter but these ones acted like they hadn't seen food in ages. Three pigs in black feathers!! One of them picked up the container & carried it over to the side of the water & set it down to make it easier to eat - & it did let it's two buds in on the feast. I miss my bird feeders. I had several in my old yard & always enjoyed watching all the birds who came to visit.

Sounding like an old Bat on a pension, aren't I??? Hahaha  I've almost finished turning the heel on the second of my 'Mostly Blue' socks for Jen at the Cafe. Must remember to take a photo. She worked her last day on Thursday, last. As the mom of 4 teens, she really wants to be home evenings & weekends to keep track of them so she took a job closer to home with better hours. She says she'll still be around to work some weekends but not ALL of them.

Dug out my 'Blue Sweatshirt' in Briggs & Little Heritage yarn. I'm down to approximately the waist & will be starting side vents in about 3 more inches. I'm considering putting a short sleeve on it to wear over the long sleeve Tee Shirts I bought for the winter. Most of the time I really don't NEED much else since I'm only going from house to car or car to store & I think it would work nicely in the house to keep me warm as well. I really prefer to live in sweats or leggings & tee shirts with a vest or sweater now that I don't go out to work anymore.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Monday, November 07, 2016

Oh Gawd, Another Monday

I'm sure I'm suffering from Soggy Affective Disorder. All this rain, cloud & greyness is getting to me. I don't bother to make my bed anymore because I know I'll be falling back into it by mid-afternoon to sleep like I'm dead. The dishes & laundry have piled up & I just feel exhausted. And it's only November.

Mostly Blue
Maybe it's time to spin some fluorescent roving or knit a Stephen West shawl to brighten up the days!! I did spin up some neon pink & some lime green for a shawl but got sidetracked with other things. Got hooked by Cabin Fever's stripey socks is what I did!! Great method for clearing out the odds'n'sods by the way - last night, while watching the Dinosaurs on NatGeoWild, I actually had FOUR strands of sock yarn alternating like a
barber pole on the foot of a sock!! One of the gals at my favorite Greasy Spoon asked for a pair of socks in BLUES. I started one in Blue but somehow it gathered some Pink & Turquoise - which is close to Blue. It was looking so dull that I just couldn't help myself. Now to make a sibling sock that sort of resembles this one!!!

Managed to finish the Fat Ankle socks I was trading for Tillamook cheese - they're another pair of scrappy socks for a guy with ankle swelling problems - heh, I saved up almost 20 years worth of expensive leftovers from the days when I could afford sock yarn!! I always said I was saving it for Retirement. Well, here I am - Retired - sort of. I started with 72 sts & a nice loose ribbing for about an inch & a half. The heels are nice & deep with my usual knit-in gussets. I carried the K1 Slip1 all the way under the heel to make it nice & cushy. I like the very stretchy ribbing & the deep heel myself - it makes getting the sock onto my right foot - the one with the knee that won't bend all the way anymore - much easier.

Haven't done much on my sweaters dammit. I've been moping around doing nothing but beating on the keyboard. So much work & so little time!!! I'm working harder now than I did before I retired. But, it pays down the credit card. After all, I blew the budget on clothes last month - yes, dammit, I bought some new clothes!!! And then I blew the budget for this month on two pairs of glasses. So I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go .  .  .  .